The CONCACAF Gold Cup 2021 kicks off this weekend, with 15 of the best nations from across North and Central America and the Caribbean (plus invited guests Qatar) set to compete in the biennial continental competition.
The sixteenth edition of the CONCACAF Gold Cup is just around the corner, which means that diehard soccer fans all over North America, Central America, and the Caribbean will be in for a treat for a whole month.
|Event Name:||CONCACAF Gold Cup|
|Date:||July 10 – Aug 01, 2021|
|Free Online Stream:||Watch Free Live|
This competition will be more special than usual, as it’ll mark CONCACAF’s 60th anniversary, meaning they’ll go all-out to celebrate this remarkable milestone, as confirmed by CONCACAF President and FIFA Vice President Victor Montagliani on their official website:
CONCACAF Gold Cup 2021: Kick-Off Date
CONCACAF’s ultimate nation soccer competition will begin on July 2 with the preliminary round. Then, the group stage will start on July 10 and run through July 20. The final will take place on August 1 at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.
CONCACAF Gold Cup 2021: What Is The First Match Of The Tournament?
The first game of the preliminary round will take place on July 2 at 4:30 PM (ET) at DRV PNK Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, FL, between Haiti and Saint Vincent, and the Grenadines. As for the first game of the Group Stage, it will take place on July 10 at 5:30 PM (ET) at Toyota Stadium in Dallas between El Salvador and Curaçao.
What is the CONCACAF Gold Cup?
The Gold Cup, held every two years, is CONCACAF’s equivalent to the European Championships or the Copa America. The tournament is used to determine the continental champion of the CONCACAF region (North America, Central America, and the Caribbean).
The tournament was first staged in 1963 as the ‘CONCACAF Championship,’ two years after the federation was formally founded. The United States Men’s National Team (USMNT) made their debut in the tournament in 1985, where they finished in sixth place. Mexico, meanwhile, has played in all but two editions of the tournament since its inception.
The tournament was rebranded and reformatted as the Gold Cup in 1991, and the United States has hosted or co-hosted it every year since.
The most successful team in the tournament’s history in Mexico, with 11 wins. El Tri is also the reigning champion, after defeating the U.S. in the 2019 final at Soldier Field, Chicago. The USMNT owns six Gold Cup titles.
Soccer fans in Charlotte may be familiar with the tournament as Bank of America Stadium hosted Gold Cup matches in 2011, 2015, and 2019 editions. Charlotte hosted the Mexican national team on all three occasions—and they proceeded to win the tournament each time.
What is the format of the tournament?
The CONCACAF Gold Cup is structured similarly to other international tournaments: a group stage proceeds a single-elimination knockout bracket.
A total of 16 teams feature in the 2021 edition, who are split into four groups of four. The top two teams in each group progress to the quarterfinal stage.
Among the 16 teams is guest Qatar, champions of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup champions, and 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts. The remaining 15 CONCACAF nations were required to qualify for the tournament. Twelve places were decided based on results from the 2019–20 CONCACAF Nations League, while the remaining three teams qualified via the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup Prelims in early July. Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, and Guadeloupe qualified via the prelims, which featured the 12 teams from CONCACAF’s 41 members who did not qualify via the Nations League.
When is the CONCACAF Gold Cup taking place?
The 2021 edition of the tournament begins on Saturday, July 10 at 5 p.m. ET, when El Salvador faces Curaçao at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. (Fans in Charlotte will be able to attend CLTFC’s viewing party at The Suffolk Punch).
Mexico will start its campaign later that evening at 10 p.m., with a group-stage game against Trinidad & Tobago at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The USMNT begins on Sunday, July 11 at 8.30 p.m., when Gregg Berhalter’s team hosts Haiti at Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City.
14 matchdays are leading up to the final on Monday, August 2, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
Where is this year’s CONCACAF Gold Cup being staged?
The Gold Cup is traditionally held across multiple cities, and 2021 is no exception.
A total of 10 venues will be used, including six in Texas: The Cotton Bowl, Toyota Stadium and AT&T Stadium in Dallas, NRG Stadium and BBVA Stadium in Houston, and Austin’s brand-new Q2 Stadium.
State Farm Stadium in Arizona, Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, and Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas are also hosting. The final will take place in Las Vegas.
How does the Concacaf Gold Cup tournament work?
The 16-nation field has been divided into four round-robin groups, and the first round runs from July 10 to July 20.
The top two teams in each group advance to the quarter-finals, which begin on July 24. From there, it’s a single-elimination format right up until the final on Aug. 1.
The four groups are:
- Group A: Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao and Trinidad & Tobago
- Group B: United States, Canada, Martinique, and Haiti
- Group C: Costa Rica, Jamaica, Surname and Guadeloupe
- Group D: Honduras, Panama, Grenada, and Qatar
Who’s hosting the tournament?
The United States is staging the competition, with games taking place in 10 different venues across nine cities.
Canada will play all of its group stage matches at Children’s Mercy Park, home of MLS club Sporting Kansas City. The Canadians open up their tournament against Martinique on July 11, before facing Haiti (July 15) and the U.S. (July 18).
Quarter-final matches will be split between State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas. Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas, and Houston’s NRG Stadium will stage the semifinals. The final will take place at Allegiant Stadium, just outside Las Vegas.
Will fans be allowed to attend matches?
Yes! Each of the nine host cities will have spectators inside their stadiums for the matches this summer, although each venue will have different restrictions and protocols.
The good news is that all 60,000 tickets at Allegiant Stadium have been sold, so the championship final should feature an incredible fan atmosphere.
Who are some of the tournament favorites?
Mexico is the defending champions and has won the Gold Cup four out of the last five occasions, and eight times overall. Most of their players ply their trade in Mexico’s Liga MX, which is the top domestic division in the country. The rest are based in Europe and MLS.
Mexico is No. 11 in the current FIFA world rankings (the highest-ranked Concacaf nation on the list), and boasts a deep and talented team that can score goals. It says something about how good this side is that coach Tata Martino didn’t even call up veteran forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, the country’s all-time leading scorer, even though he’s leading MLS in scoring with 10 goals for the LA Galaxy.
The U.S. ranked No. 20 by FIFA, is enjoying a resurgence after failing to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Coach Gregg Berhalter has come in and pushed out some of the more long-serving members of the national team, including Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley, and expanded his player pool by blooding a handful of exciting youngsters, including 21-year-old forward Daryl Dike. The Americans will also have the benefit of home-field advantage throughout the tournament and are hungry for success after losing to Mexico in champion.